Skip to main content
We've detected that you're using an unsupported browser. You may experience issues using the OA website. Please visit our supported browsers page for more information.

Language of the OA

The Language of the OA encompasses style, usage, and grammar norms observed by both the Boy Scouts of America and the Order of the Arrow. The OA has developed this resource so that communications at every level of the organization are more consistent. Through periodic updates of terminology, it will become a more comprehensive primary resource to ensure chapters, lodges, sections and regions are aware of terms and style specific to the OA.

For more information on broader Scouting terms not commonly used in day-to-day OA operations, please visit The Language of Scouting and BSA Style Manual. To suggest an update and/or edit of The Language of the OA, please email @email.

Termcharter
Category
BSA General
Definition

In the BSA, charters authorize (1) an organization to operate BSA Scouting units (see "chartered organization"); (2) a local council to incorporate as a BSA local council; (3) operation of an Order of the Arrow lodge; or (4) the Boy Scouts of America to incorporate.

Style and Usage

When used as a verb, use "to obtain a charter" and "to renew a charter" rather than "to charter" or "to recharter." Capitalize in sentence case.

Examples
Termchief
Category
OA Organization
Definition

A key elected youth leader in the Order of the Arrow who may be a chapter chief, lodge chief, section chief, region chief or national chief. 

Style and Usage

Capitalize in sentence case unless preceding a name. If preceeding a name, capitalize.

Examples

"W-3N Section Chief Amanda Arrowman," "Johnny was elected as the chapter chief"

TermChief's Circle
Category
100th Anniversary
Definition

A NOAC 2015 incentive program that challenges lodges to double the lodge attendance from NOAC 2012 or bring 15% the lodge's chartered membership for the 2015 year. 

Style and Usage

Capitalize as shown.

Examples
TermCOM
Category
2015 NOAC
Definition

Communcations Committee

Style and Usage

Should not be used in guest communications.

Examples
Termcommittee
Category
OA Organization
Definition

A group or team designated to accomplish specific objectives. 

Style and Usage

Capitalize only in the official name of a particular committee.

Examples

"national committee," "Longhorn Council Finance Committee," "district membership committees," "National Catholic Committee on Scouting," "National Order of the Arrow Committee"

Termcommittee
Category
2015 NOAC
Definition

A group of people appointed for a specific NOAC function, typically consisting of members of a larger group.

Style and Usage

Capitalize in sentence case.

Examples
Termconclave
Category
OA General
Definition

The section conclave is an annual activity (prior to 1972 known as an Area OA Conference) involving the lodges in each section. Each conclave is led by section youth officers elected from among the member lodges at the previous year’s conclave, and the event itself is prepared in cooperation with various other lodge officers, and with one lodge serving as the “service lodge”.

Style and Usage

Capitalize in sentence case unless referring to a specific instance.

Examples

"The 1979 Section NE-3B Conclave was the largest conclave in the Order of the Arrow's history."

TermConclave Best Practices
Category
Publications
Definition

A document, published by the National Council, detailing best practices for lodges and sections when planning conclaves.

Style and Usage

Capitalize and italicized as shown.

Examples
TermConclave Training Initiative
Category
OA General
Definition

The purpose of the Conclave Training Initiative is to provide at least one training session each year for sections to use to augment their own conclave training. 

Style and Usage

Capitalize as shown. May abbreviate as CTI after first use.

Examples
Termconference vice chief
Category
2015 NOAC
Definition

A (past or present) section chief responsible for one of the conference committees.

Style and Usage

Capitalize in sentence case. May abbreviate as CVC after first use.

Examples
Termcontingent
Category
2015 NOAC
Definition

A group of guests and staff from one lodge who travel together to the conference.

Style and Usage

Capitalize in sentence case.

Examples
Termcontingent
Category
BSA General
Definition

May be used to describe an official Scout group at an official Scout event. Otherwise, use "delegation." The term "delegation" also is used when referring to the group of Scouts who attend the annual Report to the Nation. 

Style and Usage

Capitalize in sentence case.

Examples
Termcontingent leader
Category
2015 NOAC
Definition

A Scouter responsible for the contingent from the lodge.

Style and Usage

Capitalize in sentence case.

Examples
Termcouncil
Category
BSA General
Definition

An administrative body chartered to be responsible for Scouting in a designated geographic territory. 

Style and Usage

Capitalize only when referring to a specific local council or the National Council. E.g. "Moby Dick Council," "Gulf Coast Council."

Examples
TermCouncil of Chiefs
Category
OA General
Definition

The Council of Chiefs (COC) is the governing body of the section and consists of the Section Chief, Section Vice-Chief, Section Secretary, Immediate Past Section Chief, a representative from each lodge in the section (normally the lodge chief), Section Adviser, Section Staff Adviser, and any other appointed Chairman or Advisers of the section. Voting members of the COC include the section officers and chiefs from each lodge.

Style and Usage

Capitalize as shown. May abbreviate as COC after first use.

Examples
Termcouncil service center
Category
BSA General
Definition

The business center for the local administration of Scouting. 

Style and Usage

Capitalized in sentence case unless referring to a specific council's service center. E.g. The Sam Houston Area Council's Cockrell Service Center is one of the largest council service centers in Texas.

Examples
Termdelegate
Category
2015 NOAC
Definition

A Scout or Scouter attending the conference.

Style and Usage

Capitalize in sentence case.

Examples
TermDeveloping Youth Leaders Conference
Category
OA General
Definition

The Developing Youth Leadership Conference will deepen an adviser’s capacity to develop youth leadership within the lodge and chapter. Conference topics will include fostering a growth mindset, promoting resilience, providing constructive feedback that leads to changes in youth behavior and creating a life-long coaching/mentoring relationship. Conference participants will gain insights necessary to successfully coach youth applying the leadership skills they gained during the National Leadership Seminar.

Style and Usage

Capitalize as shown. May abbreviate as DYLC after first use.

Examples
TermDirect Service
Category
BSA General
Definition

Formerly called the "Direct Service Council." This is the National Scout Service Center service through which U.S. citizens in other parts of the world not served by the Far East or Transatlantic Councils can retain membership and affiliation with the Boy Scouts of America. 

Style and Usage

Capitalize as shown.

Examples
TermDistinguished Service Award
Category
OA General
Definition

Award that recognizes Arrowmen who have rendered outstanding service to the Order of the Arrow on a sectional, regional or national level.

Style and Usage

Capitalize as shown. May abbreviate as DSA after first use.

Examples
Termdistrict
Category
BSA General
Definition

A geographical area of the council determined by the council executive board to help ensure the growth and success of Scouting units within the district's territory. 

Style and Usage

Capitalize only when naming a specific district: "Arrowhead District," "District 2," "districtwide."

Examples
TermDo a Good Turn Daily
Category
BSA General
Definition

The Scout slogan.

Style and Usage

Capitalize only if standing alone. E.g. "We should all do a good turn daily," but "The Scout slogan is Do a Good Turn Daily."

Examples
TermDonald Rogert Canoeing High Adventure Base
Category
BSA General
Definition

A high adventure base operated by the National Council in Atikokan, Ontario, Canada, offers trips north and northeast in the White Otter area and south into the Quetico Provincial Park. 

Style and Usage

Capitalize as shown. May be referred to as Rogert Base after first reference.

Examples
TermEagle Scout
Category
BSA General
Definition

The highest rank in Scouting.

Style and Usage

Capitalize as shown. 

Examples

"Eagle Scout badge," "Eagle Scout requirements," "Eagle Scout rank," "Eagle Scout Award," "Eagle Scout court of honor," "Eagle Scout board of review"

Termexecutive board
Category
BSA General
Definition

The National Executive Board is the governing body of the Boy Scouts of America. Voting memberships include regular membership, attained by election; ex officio membership, held by regional presidents, the chairman of the Advisory Council, and the chairman of the Board of Regents of the National Eagle Scout Association; and youth membership (at any time, the board may include five or fewer youth members appointed by the president). (2) The executive board in each local council is its policy-making body. Voting members include between 25 and 50 regular council members, the chairmen of the committees of the executive board, the chairmen of the district committees, and up to two youth members. The Scout executive is a nonvoting member. 

Style and Usage

Capitalize "executive board" only in the name of a specific local council executive board or when reference is clearly to the National Executive Board. E.g. "Orange County Council Executive Board," "the executive board of the Sam Houston Area Council."

Examples